The Student
The Scotland-Northern Ireland bridge: yet another disastrous plan for transport
by Adam Losekoot, 29/02/20

In this week’s ‘news you didn’t think you needed because it’s absolutely mental – and not in a good way’ our illustrious Prime Minister has announced a green light for the next phase of the spectacularly pointless HS2 railway link which will at long last (and only about £70 billion over budget) link together Birmingham and London – two cities which happen to already be connected. Why anyone would want to go to either is beyond me but that’s not really the point – my (ir)rational hatred of Birmingham and London is only part of why I get out of bed in the morning. While over £100 billion is spent on this colossal screw up, and the UK government is drooling over the chance to renew trident (which is predicted to cost approximately £200 billion), Supreme Leader Johnson has also announced he will kindly begin the process of planning a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland.

It is not out of a dislike for the Northern Irish that I’m opposed to this, quite frankly it would be great if we could nip over the water to visit each other more easily. It’s because this bridge is just another stinker in the PM’s long list of Batshit-Crazy-Ideas-That-Should-And-Will-Never-Happen. In the interest of time, and a reasonable word count, rather than delving into the details of this spectacularly long list, you may google it yourself. Instead, let’s consider some of the many, many reasons why this ‘Boris Bridge’, as some papers are calling it, is so unbearably stupid.

The current proposal would have the bridge running over Beaufort’s Dyke, which has been used as a munitions dump for an assortment of things the Royal Navy has deemed either surplus to requirements or unsafe to use. This is where many of the supporting pillars required to hold the bridge would have to go. Seeing as the structural supports will be surrounded by unexploded bombs this idea should have been vetoed from the very start. This is not to mention the massive risk to life that those tasked with building this bridge will face. Such a project would be fairly risky in the best of conditions, but this is not an area of the world famed for its calm conditions and clear skies, rather quite the opposite. This factor also means it will likely be shut most of the year due to high winds and unsafe driving conditions. Supporting such a bridge across the Irish sea is a sign of a worrying descent into madness.

Boris reckons this will cost about £15 – £20 billion. As with every other project in his record it is doomed to incur a series of increasing costs and problems. Given the state of HS2 can anyone really put their faith in this bridge? It too started out with an ambitious cost of £15 billion. The First Minister of Scotland suggested that instead this £20 billion be allocated to the devolved administrations in Holyrood and Stormont so that it can be used to support and develop infrastructure and transport links in Scotland and Northern Ireland. She makes a good point; this way the amount of money spent wouldn’t end up spiralling out of control as we have seen happen with these grand but quite frankly obtuse projects. Instead it could be spent to bring our struggling roads and railway networks up to speed (if you’ll pardon the pun). Transport links to the Highlands and Islands which have been sorely underfunded for years could be vastly improved, perhaps some could even be invested in the ferries used to cross the Irish sea, making crossing between Northern Ireland and Scotland easier, cheaper and more reliable – the very purpose of this bridge but done for a fraction of the cost. Boris says he wants to ‘lovebomb’ Scotland this year – this would be a good way to start.

Image: Senior Airman William Brugge via Air Force Reserve Command